typeface design vs graphic and editorial design

seml's picture

One thing I find funny, (without being funny at all) is that there few typeface designers who can actually achieve good work with their own created typefaces. I mean the graphic design part...
Typeface designers produce an essential tool for graphic and editorial design, but the work they produce in those areas is far from having the same kind of quality that they achieve with their "glyphs".
What I can actually find is some good text composing and good editorial details or very well written essays... but as for web and graphic... well, that's another story...

Is this just an impression? Am I being unfair?

Comments

aluminum's picture

Why is that 'funny'? Seems rather typical to me. Most graphic designer suck and architecture. Most architects suck at Web Design. Most Web Designers suck at Fashion design... ;o)

I think we assume all to often that 'design' is some universal skill that applies easily to any medium, which isn't always the case.

seml's picture

Maybe I wasn´t clear enough... I didn´t mean to as radical as graphic design vs architecture (and I believe that an architect IS a designer, either they like it or not, and designers aren´t frustrated architects as many people think... but that's another issue). What I wanted to point out is that typography is complex and in order to draw typefaces, the designer needs to have some knowledge on editorial design, text composing, format, layout... in order to achieve a certain goal of drawing a specific typeface for a specific usage, and consider perceptual issues and "laws" of graphic design. It reminds me of using wonderfully designed stones and build a horrible house with it... or play tecno with a gibson guitar...

It doesn´t sound right.... of course there are remakable examples of good layout, but sometimes I get really disapointed.

jfp's picture

Do you know many graphic designers doing typefaces of the quality of the ones from H&FJ as example?

A typeface designer draw more, think about forms, counters, in a human sense, a graphic designer do that but also play with concepts, meanings, etc. Indeed booth do the same, but not at the same proportion in their everyday job.

This is particularly true for students: you can have a great student in use of typography but suddenly very bad in typeface design, when the student from Illustration section is very good in typeface design. Clearly not the same skills.

But this sort of "Rules" can't be true for all, Erik Speikermann is the best example of a great designer for everything, even if for typeface design, he always point out that he is bad when its time to finish or expand an idea.

aluminum's picture

seml...I guess I'd argue that typeface design is as unique a design discipline as is graphic design or architecture design. People that get really good at one particular aspect of design tend to focus solely on that one aspect/medium.

A heart surgeon and a dermatologist are both doctors, but they really live in their own subset worlds of medicine.

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